West Palm Beach, Fla. – With her recent $200,000 donation to the Florida State University College of Law, West Palm Beach attorney Salesia V. Smith-Gordon, of the Law Ofﬁce of Salesia Smith-Gordon, has made history again.
Smith-Gordon’s endowment gives her the distinction of the ﬁrst Black alumna of the college to give a donation as large. The gift will be used to support cultural diversity programs and scholarships for Black law students who will attend the college.
“We need to encourage more Blacks to become lawyers,” Smith Gordon said. “My endowment was based not only on my desire to give, but more so the need to give.”
According to an FSU law school press release, Smith-Gordon also will make history as the ﬁrst Black alumna to have their portrait on the wall of the FSU School of Law Rotunda, with the unveiling ceremony set for Sept. 29 at 3 p.m.
Smith-Gordon hails from a family of success. She and her mother, Jeraldine Williams Smith, are the ﬁrst mother-daughter duo to graduate from the FSU College of Law. Jeraldine Smith graduated from the law school in 1981.
“That honor makes me smile, as it was my mother who wanted me to go to law school and I said yes!” she quipped. She had planned to become a veterinarian because of her love of animals, she said.
In addition her father is Walter L. Smith, Sr., PhD., who served as president of Florida A&M University from 1977 to 1985. To her, he was just “daddy,” Smith-Gordon said of the leader who passed on Nov. 25, 2021.
Her parents’ influence was monumental, she said. “I’m caring and kind, but I don’t take no stuff! I’m also thoughtful and strategic.” While she gives back on behalf of education, her husband, Lawrence Gordon, vice mayor of Haverhill in Palm Beach County, also gives to his HBCU alma mater, Jackson State University.
Smith-Gordon earned her bachelor’s degree from FAMU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1989, and is still a registered pharmacist. For many years she worked in her own law ﬁrm by day and as a hospital pharmacist by night. Although no longer doing the dual roles, she said she is still involved in pharmacy and ﬁnds it beneﬁcial as a lawyer.
She holds many professional titles in law and other disciplines and is the recipient of a plethora of honors and awards. On Monday this week she received yet another: the FSU College of Law Alumni Association Service Award.